"Observations of one who has walked through the fire"



Scripture reading:Isaiah 43: 1-2


††††††††††† I would like to tell you a story about a young man. He was raised in a Christian home all his life and there he felt a real sense of comfort. Time moved on and one-day it was time for him to go off to college. He loaded up all his worldly belongings and headed off to his college town.


††††††††††† He got settled in that Sunday night and unloaded everything from his 1969 Ford Mustang into the little two-room cabin. The Mustang was in mint condition and as you might expect for a nineteen-year-old, it was more than just a form of transportation, it was an extension of his worth and personality.


††††††††††† It was January the 7th and a cold front had come through this sleepy little southern town and the temperature dropped down into the teens. The landlord had explained that the gas heater worked but the propane tank needed refilling. So the only means of heating the cabin would come from an electric coil heater in the bathroom next to the bedroom.


††††††††††† With two or three blankets piled high and the coil heater turned up high, the young man climbed into his single bed and went to sleep. As you might expect being away from home for the first time and sleeping in a strange place by himself, he didn't simply drift off to sleep. He stayed awake for hours thinking about home, wondering if this is really where he wanted to be. As the night wore on he finally fell asleep.


††††††††††† Early the next morning the temperature was so cold it had caused the young man to pull the covers over his head. As the young man drifted in and out of sleep he began to detect a strange smell in the room. He thought at first it was part of his dream and tried to ignore it. After a while he realized the odor was definitely real and he needed to get up and check on it.


††††††††††† He made his way over to the bedroom door and when he opened the door, the den was full of propane gas. The room was so full of gas it hurt his eyes and his nose stung from breathing it. He heard a hissing sound coming from the gas heater so he made his way across the room to examine it. The knob was in the off position but it was still making a sound like gas was leaking from somewhere. He turned the knob on and off, on and off but it didn't stop the leaking.


††††††††††† An unpleasant thought occurred to the young man--that the coil heater in the bathroom could ignite the gas. So the young man started for the bathroom. He made it to the bedroom door when to his right he heard the gas ignite. He fell to the floor as he saw the flames rolling his way. The flames were at head level and moving rapidly towards him. Just as he hit the floor the flames moved to the den where the highest concentration of gas was and a huge explosion occurred.


The explosion caused the front door to be blown off the hinges and across the driveway and landed on the white picket fence of the neighbors, thus catching it on fire. The AC unit in the window was blown out of the window. And when the young man got up off the floor and looked around he saw the den was completely on fire. The walls were a blaze, the sofa was on fire, the floor was on fire, everything was ablaze.

††††††††††† The young man ran through the den and out the door opening in nothing but his fruit-of-the-looms. As his reached the safety of the gravel driveway he looked back and the cabin was completely engulfed in flames. Not only the cabin but also his prized Mustang's vinyl top and Goodyear raised white letter tires were ignited by the heat.


††††††††††† He started walking to house next door and as he approached the house he saw his neighbor was cranking his car trying to get it warmed up. As the neighbor was getting out of his car, the young man startled him, standing there in nothing but his underwear, he asked if he could use his phone to call the fire department. The older gentleman nervously said yes and asked him to come on inside.


††††††††††† While the young man called the fire department the older gentleman went to get some pants for the young man to put on. He came back with some red, doubleknit pants (high waters) that were too small to zip or button. So as the young man stood there in that kitchen looking out the window, he called his Dad. And at approximately 6:30 AM his Dad picked up the phone and the young man's first words were


"Dad, I'm lucky to be alive."


For those of you who have never heard this story, that young man was me. And everything you heard happened on January the 7th 1981, 21 years ago.



And I would like to share with you are some:



" Observations of one who has walked through the fire"





1.      Your experience may go unnoticed by those around you, but God will be there.My neighbor was oblivious to the explosion and inferno, taking place just a few yards from his back door, but God was there.††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††† ††

(Isaiah 50:4)The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.




†††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

I believe it was God who awakened me that morning. I could have very easily died from breathing the gas.

2.      You do some things you wouldn't normally do, such as run outside in the freezing cold with nothing but your underwear on. You know it can be a humbling experience to walk up to a stranger in your underwear and ask a favor.

Your response might be different:

        You might call for help

        Seek counseling

        Run far away

        Or fall on your knees and humbly pray

There's no telling what you might do in the fire of God's testing.

I Peter 5: 6-10

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.










3.      Your fire experience may come at an inconvenient time. Unfortunately God doesn't check with us to see if we can work him into our calendar. But if you think about it, there is never a bad time to get right with God.††

4.      Your fire experience will cause you to reflect on life. How short it can seem and how quickly it can end.††† You will reflect on God's plan for you, your purpose and God's word. I began reading God's word on a more regular basis following my fire experience.

5.      A fire experience may be part of God's refining process in your life shaping you and molding you, or preparing you for something further down the road.Don't question God but rather learn from the experience.††

(Isaiah 45:9-17) v9 ďDoes the clay say to the potter, "What are you making?"








Flame Test:

Some minerals produce characteristic colors of flame or residue when they burn. The flame test identifies these minerals. For example, when a small sample of table salt is held in a flame, the flame becomes yellow. The yellow color is due to the presence of sodium in table salt (sodium chloride). Potassium produces a violet flame, and calcium gives an orange-red flame.


When you are held in the flame of Gods testing, what type flame due you produce? Do you produce a flame of faith, patience, humility, or obedience? Or is you flame residue characterized by self-reliance, worldly remedies, anger, or shifting blame.

A pure element (such as gold or silver) contains only atoms of gold or silver. While our bodies are made of molecules, not atoms, God does desire purity of heart. It is the nature of gold that it does not mix easily with anything else. Silver also in its pure form contains only atoms of silver. And, as the Bible teaches, when copper or some other element is mixed with gold or silver, fire can burn the foreign stuff out and leave the gold or silver pure.

In Matthew 3:11-12, John the Baptist says that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit "and with fire." So to embrace Jesus is to embrace the Spirit's "fire" which God uses to burn sin from our lives and purify us. The Holy Spirit has convicted me time and time again of impurities in my life. Though my natural tendency is to resist the hot fire, afterwards I am always thanking God for having drawn me closer to him.

God will not tolerate other gods, or unChristlike attitudes in your life or mine.You and I canít purify ourselves; we must surrender to the purifying fire of the Refiner.

Purity, of course, is never an achievement, but a gift of grace to those who admit their need of the Refiner's fire. ††

Is God testing you? This refining process you are going through may be needed to burn off those impurities or other gods.

Zechariah 13:9

I will bring the third that remain through the fire and make them pure, as gold and silver are refined and purified by fire.





God is a jealous God.He doesnít like to be part of a mixture. He desires purity.

Read from the Living Bible:††††††


Exodus 20:5

I Peter 1:6-7

Psalms 66:8-10


Summarizes main points:


        God tests us to see the condition of our heart and going through these test, trials, or fires, the impurities are burned off, and we are made pure for his glory.

        As a man disciplines his son, so the Lord disciplines His children. You are precious and honored in God's sight and he loves you.

        God is the potter, we are but the clay. We shouldn't question the process, but be thankful he is molding us and giving us the faith to trust Him.

        And though no one else may seem to notice your going through the fire, take comfort in knowing that God will, as it says in†† I Peter 5:10†††††††††††††† " will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you."††


Tim Albritton, March 13, 2002